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Myyyyyyyyyy new Orchid

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2004
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by Nako on May 23, 2004 11:53 PM
Hi!
I got a new Orchid from work, cuz they seemed to be showing up everywhere, (in my friend's house, my mom's house, on my corsage i got when i went to the formal, etc.) so ya i finally just broke down >.o

Anywho, i did some searching, and was wondering a few things, cuz i couldn't find anything about them.

1. This particular one's flower stem is being held up by a stick. Can i somehow make it so that it isn't being held up by a stick so that it can hold itself up?

2. What kind is it? I'll take a picture of it later ^.^ Its sky blue to white, speckled, and looks like a fish with a wide open mouth, and a baby bonet on.

3. If i can't hold it up, can i prune it, in hopes that it will grow a new stem and flower again?

4. My friend said it was parasitic, and lives off of other plants. Is that true? Can i keep it with my other plants without fear of it eating them?

I do have a lot of experience taking care of orchids, but i never really thought about tinkering with them. I used to take care of my neighbors when i was 11 or 12, and they really seemed to like me lol. They couldn't get them to bloom at all, no matter what they did, but when i came in, every once in a while, i'd throw water at them, and they'd bloom forever o.O so ya ^.^ i donno.

Anywho, Thanks in advance if y'all can help!

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by afgreyparrot on May 24, 2004 12:34 AM
Here's a link to the kind I have. Maybe yours is here?
Phalaenopsis Orchid

I keep my stick in my pot with my orchid not to hold it up, but as a watering guide. If I take the stick out and it feels damp, I stick it back in and wait a while longer to water! If it's dry, I water. That's the only way I won't over-water it!

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by Nako on May 24, 2004 04:56 AM
Hmmmmmmmmmm, that could be it ^.^ I'm not sure though, i need a second opinion.
Here's mine:
My Orchid!

As you can see some of my other plants are in there too ^.^ someday i'll take a group photo when it gets sunny out! Then everything will look nice and pretty [flower]

But ya, ms. cindy, how did you get yours to stand up without the stick? did it just come that way?

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by rue anemone on May 24, 2004 03:44 PM
When I took the stick out of mine the plant leaned way to the side. I think this was to counter-balance the weight of the flower and stalk.

With the plant leaning way to the side water does not collect down in the leaves and is a much more natural look. I have mine outside so it is receiving rain.

My plants always do so much better outside in the summer.

Mine is in the proces of blooming for a second time. It is taking so long for it to happen, but then when it blooms!!

I bought mine price reduced, it had already flowered in the store, flower unseen.

No it is not a parasite, there is another name for it, can`t think of it right now.

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by afgreyparrot on May 24, 2004 05:12 PM
Mine came attached to a stick, but I took it out. Then, I read about the stick being used to tell if the plant needed water or not, so I put one back in. It leans, but the stem is straight up. (The stem is brown, and looks dead to me, but since I don't know anything about orchids I thought I'd better not cut it off! Maybe I need to?) Mine hasn't bloomed yet, but has gotten several new leaves in the last 2 weeks. But, my daughter described it to me when she gave it to me, and it sounds like it is going to look like yours, Phoebe! Hope mine is that pretty!

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by Nako on May 24, 2004 05:48 PM
^.^ well thank you ms. Cindy! And thank you too Anemone! I'd put my plants outside, but our neighbor also has a deadly combination of a garden, and bird feeders. This means that the area is infested with squirrls, chipmunks, and gofers. Sure its the cutest infestation in the world ^.^ but I don't trust it with anything pretty lol. Especially a bonsai!

omg at work, I was looking around at the bonsai trees (i want a red leafed maple ^.^) and it looked like a small tornado had gone through them all o.O A squirrl had been in the greenhouse! So ya, thousands of dollars worth of bonsai destroyed >.<

My plants do get plenty of light upstairs, and the ones that require direct sunlight sit on the windowsill where they get plenty of it ^.^ I still donno where to put my calla, soooooo its sitting on a chair near another window with indirect sunlight for now lol. New Hampshire weather sucks for gardening lol. Well apples do good [Smile]

I'm rambling lol. But ya ^.^ thanks for helping identify my orchid!

Anyone know if i can cut the stem off, and have it grow back?

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by GaWd on May 26, 2004 06:43 PM
Nako,

As already mentioned, you have a Phalaenopsis orchid. They require only medium light, and like to be a bit(but not too much) damp. Too much light will bleach or burn your leaves, so keep it inside.

It is customary to leave the stake in it to support the flower spike. Older spikes can bend and break under the weight of the large flowers. If you decide to cut off the flower spike, you can cut it around 3 nodes up from the base of the spike.If the plant is vigorous enough, it may produce a second spike from the original one, or it may dry up and you can just remove it.

It's probably a good idea to use a single chopstick or a bamboo skewer to insert into the medium to check on the moisture content of it. At least until you get the hang of watering your phal.

Sam

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Sam Roza
by Nako on May 26, 2004 09:50 PM
Sam,
Thank you so much ^.^ I'd been looking EVERYWHERE for that answer, and the closest thing i found was "cut the flowers 5 cm down the stock before they're half way done." its about 3 nodes high, so i won't be able to cut it that much.

But thank you very much! I really appreciate it ^.^

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by GaWd on May 26, 2004 10:41 PM
Sometimes, you can also get what is called a "keiki" growing on the end of the inflorescence(flower spike). It will look kind of like a little plant and it is the Phal's way of trying to reproduce. You can keep it on the end of r a year or so and when it has enough roots, transplant it.

You can cut the spike lower than the 3rd node, but it's just a little less likely to produce another spike. A lot of times, companies force their orchids into flowering and that takes a lot out of them. In cases like that, it's better to cut the spike all the way back and let the plant concentrate on growth instead of flowering.

Your welcome for everything!

Sam

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Sam Roza
by afgreyparrot on May 26, 2004 10:52 PM
Since you seem to know about orchids, let me ask a question now!!! I know NOTHING about them. Like I said before, this was given to me by my daughter, and it was not blooming at the time. It had two brown stems, almost a foot tall. I mean totally brown. I cut one off, then I thought I'd better find out a little bit more about orchids before I kept on chopping! My answer to every plant I acquired that was in bad shape was CUT IT BACK!!! So, I have one stem left, brown, feels hollow at the top 2/3, but not at the bottom third. Had two BIG leaves when I got it 2 months ago, but has since grown two more leaves. Do I cut this stem off or leave it?

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by GaWd on May 26, 2004 11:28 PM
Cindy, is your orchid also a Phalaenopsis? It sounds like, but if I am wrong, let me know.

If so, and the stem that was on it is dry, brown, wrinkly and hollow, cut it off. Lots of times they keep the old spikes on them as decoration when they dry out.

Whatever you do, don't cut the foliage back on most orchids unless there is an illness, an infection, or it is a specific type that is deciduous. Almost like with a Rhodo.

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Sam Roza
by afgreyparrot on May 27, 2004 12:38 AM
Yep, it's a phalaenopsis.

Will it grow another stem and flower?

Thanks for your help.

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by GaWd on May 27, 2004 01:42 AM
No.

When you cut a phal stem, one of 3 things will happen:

1- Nothing. It will just sit there.
2- The stem will begin to branch off and form either another flower spike, or a keiki.
3- It will turn brown, dry out and wrinkle.

That's pretty much it. If it hasn't done anything, it probably won't.

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Sam Roza
by afgreyparrot on May 27, 2004 01:49 AM
Well, we'll see what happens, then! I'll let you know.
Thank you for the answers!

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by Nako on May 27, 2004 03:20 AM
So if i cut the stem all the way back, it'll concentrate on growth rather than flowering, gotcha. But it will never grow flowers again??? o.O Do i have that straight?

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by afgreyparrot on May 27, 2004 04:01 AM
O.K. I just did the deed...cut the brown stem off. But, Phoebe, there is a little "knob" of a thing sprouting up between the two stems I cut off, and it looks to be the start of a new stem!!! It's very, VERY small, barely noticeable. Hope GaWd tells me it will flower again!

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by Nako on May 27, 2004 04:18 AM
I hope so too, cuz i just cut the flowers off and gave em to my neighbor. *waits patiently*...

*plays violin while she waits*

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by sibyl on May 27, 2004 05:26 AM
i dont know anything about orchids ,just wanted to see yours, VERY PRETTY [flower] . but i had to tell ya i loved your solder stuck in the soil to look like a tree [Big Grin] [thumb]

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by sibyl on May 27, 2004 06:24 AM
phoebe
now im looking in my house plants books [Big Grin] , are you shure its a phalaenopsis? it also looks a oleander { nerium oleander}. didnt know there were so many orchids out there! didnt see anything about them eating other plants just their heavy feeders, use special orchid fertilizer, feeding them will result in more robust plants and longer blooming periods. [Wink]

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by Nako on May 27, 2004 06:44 AM
i did a search, and it says that nerium oleander is a shrub that you can train to be a tree. Apparently every part of it is poisonous, including the smoke if you burn it. So ya, all you potheads out there, don't smoke that bush!

Anyway ^.^ i'm glad you liked my Solder stuck in soil to look like a tree... plant lol. I had an extra pot left over that my mom gave me for my Jade when it was about an inch tall, but it outgrew that, and is about 8" tall now. I should get a giant picture of my entire indoor garden sometime ^.^ Its supposed to be nice and sunny tomorrow, so i may get a good one [flower]

I'm not sure if its a philo...something whatever it is lol. I just know its an orchid that i can happily grow indoors ^.^ weeeee! but it looks like one i guess lol.

Anywho, That's cool that the thingy is showing up on the stem ms. cindy! is there a chance that you can show me a picture of it?

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by GaWd on May 27, 2004 07:40 AM
Phoebe- If given the proper culture, your orchid will bloom again. Proper light, water and fertilizer is very important! Cutting off the flower spike will concentrate it's growth on leaves, roots and future flowers, just like you guessed.

Cindy- THe little nub in between the 2 stems may be another flower spike. Aerial roots also sprout the same way, so it might just be another root.

A note for all you orchid people-if your plant has aerial roots, roots that grow out instead of down-leave them be. Do not cut them or trim them, or try to bury them in the pot.

That is definitely a Phalaenopsis, not an oleander. If you were wondering about Orchids, I have several books crammed with orchids pics and descriptions, there are tens of thousands of different kinds.

Orchids aren't usually "heavy feeders", and you don't have to use special fertilizer. Most orchids are generally happy with a weak feeding every watering, or every other watering(WEAK mix!), and it is customary to use a balanced fert. such as 20-20-20 or 10-10-10.

Anything else I can help with? [Smile]

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Sam Roza
by Jon on May 27, 2004 09:51 AM
Oleander is very poisonous. The flowers are beautiful but it is one plant that even hungry birds leave alone. I couldn't be paid enough to have one in my yard. Yet, the freeway system in So. CA use them extensively for roadside beautification and one can often find wildlife living among them - just not "eating" them.

Jon
by catlover on May 27, 2004 04:53 PM
Oh, you don't EVEN want to get me started on OLEANDER!!! My whole 1/3rd acre was surrounded with them except the very front....took me forever to find out you couldn't burn them....even asked on wood sites if I was able to burn....they thought it was okay....NO...NO...NO... and for heaven's sake don't toast marshmellows/hotdogs on oleander twigs ...death sentence waiting to happen!!!! These are giganto and the root systems...oh my... thick, wrapped around each other and very deep....thus the reason between and on sides of frwys....take very little water! Have since taken out all but the back row and slowly eliminating them. Need to get a chain saw and cut the remaining ends down...they come back like gang busters. The birds love to hide in them but no, they don't eat them. Just a few leaves can kill a cow. If you do a forum search I am sure you will find my thread on them.

There is a smaller variety that grows very slowly and stays pretty small. But if you have kids or animals....no way, no how...get rid of them. My cats have left them alone but if you have a chewer forget it.
[kitty] Catlover [wayey]

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by Carlton on May 29, 2004 12:18 PM
Sam Roza's right about Phalaenopsis orchids. They do not need much fertilizer. In fact, I do not even add fertilizer to my plants but I make sure their roots are not allowed to dry out. All my Phalaenopsis orchids produce a couple of leaves each year and as for flowers, they have been producing them withot fail for the past 8 years!
(By the way, I pot my orchids with charcoal which provides the dampness they require but which is not wet enough to cause the roots to rot. Hope this bit of info is helpful).
by afgreyparrot on May 30, 2004 08:33 PM
That's the next question I wanted to ask...
My daughter brought my orchid to me potted in what looks like wood chips, and she brought an extra bag of these chips. Good or bad? What is the BEST???

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by GaWd on May 30, 2004 09:19 PM
Bark is the "standard" medium of choice for planting orchids. It's not "the best", but it's workable. Some people add sphagnum, perlite, coconut husk or coconut shell chips. Basically anything that will allow a mechanical hold on the plant, and doesn't rot too fast. Since orchid roots ae so sensitive to rot, the medium has to be kept airy, and be allowed to drain and dry rapidly.

THere's also another technique called "Semi-Hydro" that is being used by a lot of people. more info here: www.firstrays.com

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Sam Roza
by afgreyparrot on May 31, 2004 12:36 AM
Thanks, Sam! I put a little perlite in with it, but probably not as much as I was supposed to. It seems to be doing pretty good, though. Those two new leaves are growing bigger everyday.

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by Nako on May 31, 2004 03:20 AM
Mine's starting to grow a new leave as well ^.^ Mine started out with one leaf that looks like it got cut off, so i bought it cuz it looked like a challange... plus it had speckled blue and white flowers ^.^ *grins all stupid like*

I guess i'll add some sphagnum moss to the mix ^.^ I'll do it later though, when its all used to the fact that its been repotted. When i got mine, it was potted in some weird yellow stringy moss that looked like fuzzy worms. I had a hard time telling it from the roots >.<

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by GaWd on May 31, 2004 04:44 AM
Correction:

LIVE sphagnum moss, not dried peat. Like the yellow stringy stuff...peat retains lots of moisture and if you aren't in a totally dry area, if it stays wet and there's not good air space and whatnot, it can rot your roots in short order.

If I can recommend a book, it's inexpensive-Ortho has a book on beginner orchid care. Costs around $12 or something and it's a great beginner's book.

Sam

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Sam Roza

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